Letters to the Editor (May 2010)

Perspective From Abroad

I have been following the health care reform efforts and am not surprised that within the social work community there is an opinion (Letters, January and February News) that has no basis in fact, but rather swings towards the conservative/right-wing ideology. Living abroad in a social democracy (Germany) and having universal health care (not free but paid for by the employer and employee), I see little evidence of the “dependence” that is often talked about. Yes, health care costs for coverage will involve additional costs. We as a society need to move away from the idea that we can have something for nothing, and that taxes are bad (cut taxes, no new taxes, etc.). This idea permeates our society and never addresses the issues of funding, whether we are talking about national defense or health care coverage.

Gerald Bowman, LCSW, ACSW
Munich, Germany

Social Work Input needed

The April issue of NASW News had an article that presented information to promote social workers’ review of the draft of the DSM-V. While we should all review this draft, the bigger issue is why the largest group of providers delivering mental health services in the United States is not part of its development. There are no social workers on any workgroup or committee and the DSM is the product of the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM defines pathology and as a result also defines normality for our country. One could argue whether this is a proper role for a professional organization, but there should be no argument that social workers should participate in its development.

Stanley E. Weinstein, Ph.D.
Baltimore, Md.

Quaranta’s Achievements

It was endearing to read the memorial of Dr. Mary Ann Quaranta and how she served our field on a local and national level. I attended Marymount College and Fordham University during her tenure but was never fully aware of her achievements. Thank you for bringing the lengthy pioneer work to our attention.

Angelica Hinojosa
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Reasonable Responses

Regarding the recent letters (April News) that responded to Julie Fitzgerald’s comments (Letters, March News): It was gratifying to read these reasonable and measured responses to a very important issue. As a social worker and a former social work educator, I’m dismayed by how many social workers practicing today seem to think nothing of putting aside matters of client self-determination, the need for objectivity and remaining non-judgmental in order to advance their own personal values, opinions and beliefs. These letters proved to me that the ethics of our profession are still being valued and defended. And that gives me new hope.

Karin Schmidt, MSW, ACSW
Eagle River, Wis.

Taking a Human Life

I will keep this succinct:

As a very concerned and involved medical social worker in a hospital and a private psych/hypnotherapist, I think it important to state that I, like many other social workers and concerned citizens, am against public funding of abortion and regret NASW’s position of lobbying for its inclusion.

You see, I consider abortion the taking of a human life and feel quite strongly that no one has the right to dictate another’s right to life. Does this make me anti-feminist? Certainly not!

I respect your position of considering abortion a viable option, but fully disagree that it is one — and further want to advise that I do not want my NASW monies to be used to gain acceptance of abortion in our proposed health care system.

Leanore T. Anastasio, ACSW, LCSW
New York, N.Y.

Follow Code of Ethics

As social workers, our Code of Ethics compels us to respect our clients’ rights of self-determination and informed consent with regard to the services and information we provide them. As ethical professionals, we should not allow our own religious beliefs to lower the quality of care we provide to our clients; nor should we allow our emotions to lower our ethical practices.

Julie Fitzgerald (Letters, March News) claims that abortion causes a slew of medical and mental health problems are simply untrue. While I respect Ms. Fitzgerald’s constitutional right to hold whatever beliefs she wants, both religious and medical, as social workers, we have a higher ethical duty than any garden variety leaflet carrier. It is irresponsible and unethical to attempt to influence her clients’ and others’ available medical care by spreading these lies.

Cassie Narkevic
Pittsburgh, Pa.